Friday, March 28, 2014

Yellow Stripe Belt Test

She knew everything.  We practiced the forms.  The Korean vocabulary.  The one-step sparring.  She has been showing the Ten Basic Moves to everyone for a month.  Then, when the white belts stepped up for their test together, they all kinda' froze!  You would have thought it was Abigail's first day in karate!  But, when it was time to break the board, she showed her confidence and did that.  The Master passed her anyhow, although we are raising her like a good Asian kid and told her we were proud, but also that she could have done better. (We don't want to lead her into the whole "you participated, here's your trophy" American mentality!)  She knew moves & the words. Why didn't she do them, boldly, leading the group? Apparently, the testing environment was a little confusing to her.  But initial timidity aside, we really are proud of her for finding an activity and sport that she really loves and taking ownership of it and, in class, always being focused and trying hard.  And she is super proud of herself; tonight she told me that yellow stripe belts are very tough, like her.  You know what else?  She is pretty athletic.  She moves well, runs beautifully.  I could watch her move forever.  Her little body is so coordinated and graceful and powerful.  What a gift the ability to move is!!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Ke$ha for Kids?

Abigail's Junior Kindergarten class isn't inexpensive.  It has an amazing curriculum.  The teacher has been in the business a L-O-N-G time and is wonderful with the kids and pushes their creativity and vocabulary.  They teach the scientific method.  Abigail can provide examples of alliteration, she can monitor and adjust her feelings and reactions to setbacks by doing the TURTLE, she can use the words "fiction" and "non-fiction" correctly (something I couldn't do until junior high school, as it was called then), and she can define prototype, H2O, and citizen, and she can find an ossicone on a giraffe, which is an ungulate mammal.

The kids are used to routines and schedules and Abigail thrives in that environment.  Each day during the "centers time" the students can pick what they want to do.  The choices vary from art and writing to family living to computer center.  When I have picked her up early, I have often seen kids dancing (bouncing, really) around the computers to contemporary pop music.  I hadn't thought much of it.  

Until I heard Abigail singing in the bath tonight.  I googled the lyrics she was saying and was amazed to discover that what she was belting was a Ke$ha, sorry, now simply "Kesha" song.  During the course of the lyrics, I learned that Abigail, four and a half, likes to "brush her teeth with a bottle of Jack" and when she leaves for the night she "ain't comin' back."  I was also a wee bit surprised to hear that "everybody gettin' crunk" and "boys trying to touch my..." you know, never mind.  You get the idea.  

We aren't sure if we are going to say anything.  Maybe to some parents, that seems stupid.  I am a teacher though, and I get it.  When the kids are in "center time" the teacher is working with the kids who are still having trouble printing their name or developing journaling skills with the kids.  (Their journaling program is crazy-amazing.  I can't believe how much I have seen into my pre-schooler's thoughts just from her journal and dicatation.)  So if the teacher just hears a thumping, catchy beat and the kids are all dancing and happy, does she hear the words that they are trying to repeat?  Abigail said that the kid on the "front computer" gets to pick the Pandora station and that is how it is done.  We believe her.  It is innocent.  But the stuff our kids are exposed to, is certainly not.
My completely innocent girl,
playing with worms she caught,
before bedtime, in her PJs and cowboy boots!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Biology Lessons with a 4.5 Year Old

Tonight when getting ready for bed, Abigail asked me out of the blue:
"Mama?  Where did Dinosaur [her imaginary friend] come from?  Did he grow in someone's belly?"

My little mammal.
The following conversation ensued:

me:  "No, sweetie.  Only mammals grow in bellies to be born.  Dinosaur is a reptile.  He grew in an egg, like a chicken does."

Abigail:  "Oh."  [thoughtful face, incorporating this into her brain]

me:  "You know, you grew in someone's belly before you were born, since you are a mammal."

Abigail: [giggling] "MAMA!!  I am not a mammal.  Mammals are animals!!  I am not an animal!!"

me:  [ruffing her hair] "You are furry.  And you love milk.  You are a mammal AND an animal."

Abigail: [giggling harder] "Mama!! Huh uh!"

me:  "Well, what else would you be?  Are you a plant?"

Abigail: "No.  I am not a plant!" [I can see the wheels
turning again]

me:  "Well, are you a rock then?  Or are you an animal and a mammal?"

Abigail: "I'm an animal!!"

"It just feels like our whole life is waiting until we get to travel to China." -Larry

The dresser and hutch, covered in books
and things we are organizing for our
impending trip to China.
With the "gift" of 17 snow-days home from school this winter, we have been making ourselves busy with adoption things as much as we can.  

In the interest of not spending extra money, we got a free dresser from Craigslist, which I refinished in black.  Then we bought a used desk with hutch for $15 and I refinished the hutch in black and we have assembled those together for Joseph Li's room.  It is going to be a bedroom to grow into, not a nursery.  He'll be almost a year and a half old when he joins our family, so a cutesy nursery didn't seem right.  Instead, I am doing the room in moss green and black.  

Abigail has been happy to give Joseph her old board books and clothes she doesn't need anymore.  Unprompted, she also asked me to move her toy box into his room because she is "not a baby anymore" and he "will probably like it."  

Larry is ready to travel, as indicated by his quote and title of this entry.  I am nervous at this time because our family is SO perfect right now, with the most perfect little kid and I just don't want to mess it up in any way.  But if Abigail can be a good role model for her little brother, we will have nothing to worry about!!  She is an amazing person and she is "so ready for this change" (Anna, Frozen -- we have had it playing non-stop since the DVD came out on Tuesday!!).